‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ Fans Call This Year’s Lineup ‘Disappointing’

by Caitlin Berard

Earlier this week, Jeopardy! announced the first batch of contestants for this year’s star-studded spin-off, Celebrity Jeopardy. With Mayim Bialik at the hosting lectern, the following celebrities will compete for the chance to donate their winnings to a charity of their choice:

  • Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings)
  • Contance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)
  • BJ Novak (The Office)
  • Michael Cera (Arrested Development)
  • Candace Parker (WNBA star)
  • Iliza Shlesinger (comedian)
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond)
  • Aisha Tyler (Whose Line Is It Anyway?)
  • Patton Oswalt (comedian / The Sandman)

Unlike previous iterations of the event, Celebrity Jeopardy is now a weekly series rather than a two-week event. This shift alone received a mixed reaction from fans, some of whom adore the idea of a weekly spin-off and others who found the shorter event “unwatchable” and therefore have no interest in a longer series.

‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Express Disappointment in Celebrity Line-Up

Unsurprisingly, the roster reveal received an equally mixed reaction. While some Jeopardy! fans were nothing short of blown away by the line-up, others felt disappointed by the lack of recognizable names.

“Am I the only one who has never heard of any of these celebrities? Just Patton Oswalt and Ray Romano,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Celebrities? Never heard of any of them,” another said. “I’ll take celebrities I’ve never heard of for $200,” added a third.

Others were dissatisfied not by the celebrities’ level of fame but the specific celebrities announced. “Who cares about Michael Cera,” one fan complained on Reddit. “I am so sick of Oswalt and his grating voice. In everything,” another wrote.

For some, the list included far too many actors. “Would prefer more non-entertainment celebrities (from the press, business, and politics) but I guess that doesn’t draw eyeballs as much,” wrote a discontented fan. “I think it would be cool if they had more singers,” agreed another.

The Debut of ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’

Though this year marks the first spin-off version of Celebrity Jeopardy!, celebs have been taking the place of everyday people at the contestants’ podiums once a year for decades. The first Celebrity event aired in 1992 and occurred annually until 2015.

The show has seen some major names over the years, including Aaron Rodgers, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Anderson Cooper, Jodie Foster, Regis Philbin, Pat Sajak, and Stephen King. And though Alex Trebek loved the flagship show, he always got a kick out of the Celebrity events as well.

Celebrity Jeopardy! became so popular in its initial run that it was picked up by SNL, who aired a hilarious skit parodying the spin-off event in 2015 – and Alex Trebek loved that too.

Rather than feeling offended by Will Ferrell’s comedic impersonation of him, the legendary game show host considered it an honor. “It means you’ve arrived,” Trebek once explained to the Television Academy. “If you do a take-off of somebody, it is a sign that you believe your audience will immediately recognize who you’re poking fun at.”

“And if that’s the case, that means there must be a lot of people who have watched your show over the years or are watching now,” he continued. “You’re popular not only because of your own show but the take-offs and mentions on other shows.”